NDW Stays Ahead of Energy Consumption with Smart Technology

Story Number: NNS160308-15Release Date: 3/8/2016 11:17:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pedro A. Rodriguez, NDW Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) (NNS) -- To improve energy security across Naval District Washington (NDW), a variety of initiatives have been established using technology as a driver for smarter energy usage while maintaining mission readiness.

One of those initiatives is the Shore Operations Center (SHOC), where operators and analysts use SmartGrid capabilities and advanced meters to collect real-time power consumption data down to the building level.

With critical infrastructure connected to a central network, command and control becomes more efficient. With greater connectivity, however, comes greater risk to security.

"The proper operation of utility infrastructure and building systems are important to the Navy in accomplishing their mission," said Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington Energy Supervisor Bob Kelly. "Most of the Navy's facilities already have some means of remote connectivity for controls and monitoring."

The ShOC is a centralized data hub to validate information and help installations across NDW lead their own energy programs in accordance with the five energy pillars.

Kelly emphasized the risks taken by adding more connectivity to monitor energy consumption and the precautions taken to mitigate them.

"Monitoring energy consumption has the potential for adding another means of access from intruders, however within NAVFAC Washington, the same network system is used for monitoring energy consumption and controls, so that no additional threat is encountered," said Kelly.

While energy security may have multiple facets, Kelly said the key issue to the concept is keeping the mission functional.

"Energy security has to do with not only secure control and monitoring systems, but with the reliability of the energy source as well," said Kelly. "There are no sources of energy that are 100% reliable. We look at outage history, or the risk of potential outages of energy sources, and attempt to mitigate the risk by either seeking more reliable energy sources or putting backup systems in place. Diesel generators have historically been the work horse for electrical back up. Today we are investigating many different avenues for energy, such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP), fuel cells, solar applications, and wind energy to name a few. These technologies produce energy within our own fence lines, therefore reducing our threat of outside influence."

SHOC operators at the Washington Navy Yard closely monitor electricity and power usage on facilities connected to the SmartGrid, and can make changes over the cyber-secure network in the case of a weather incident, natural or man-made disaster, or simply a resource drawing the wrong amount of power. This control helps lower overall consumption and operating costs.

"The Shore Operations Center is a regional asset designed to provide 24 hour monitoring and control for all facilities within the NAVFAC Washington area of responsibility," said NDW Energy Officer Lt. Cmdr. James Shefchik. "Each base will have a monitoring station, where all relevant data, including trouble-shooting information, will be locally available for facility managers and key maintenance personnel."

Even with all the technology systems in place, energy security, usage and mission readiness still have decidedly low-tech approaches that everyone can follow on an individual level.

"Just like your car, facilities that are tuned are much more efficient. Active facility monitoring can reduce around 25% of a building's energy consumption," said Shefchik. "Most of the savings come from being able to make sure all the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) components are operating properly. Very significant savings also come from maintaining conservative thermostat set-points. With modern HVAC controls, the two most important things we can do is to shut off anything we are not using and to ensure doors and windows are closed when the HVAC is running. Buildings are carefully balanced; opening windows throws of the whole balance of the building and can cause more discomfort in addition to the obvious energy waste. The best thing to do if the building is considerably uncomfortable is to talk to the Building Manager, so NAVFAC can make the proper corrections."

For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.

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